As Microsoft continues to evolve its app developer vision from Metro to UWP to PWA's, so too goes its vision of distributions. Today, March 11, 2021, Microsoft notified customers that it will no longer have apps that will "be available for acquisition" through its Microsoft Store for Business and Education.
Today's warning follows a year-long transition away from the specific Business and Education Store form of distribution for Windows enterprise and education app developers. Taking a 30,000-foot view of Microsoft's conceptual app development vision, funneling business and education development through these two portals makes little sense now, especially in light of the infrequent attention developers are showing towards the Windows 10 platform. Couple the fact that commercial devs have been hesitant to rewrite apps for the UWP platform as well as adopting web and cloud-based options, it's become apparent the need to end support for these terrestrial distribution channels.
Well the Microsoft Store for Business and Education are dead. If this doesn't show the death of UWP not sure what does. No way to purchase new apps for distribution in a month. @maryjofoley pic.twitter.com/ONoHHFSgML
— Hoyty (@hoyty) March 11, 2021
As of now, Microsoft is clarifying that users who have already downloaded their institution's apps from their respective channels will still be able to receive updates for them for now. No new paid apps will be distributed through the stores after April 14, 2021, and after that date, users will need to have an existing Azure Active Directory account to navigate the stores.
ZDNet journalist Mary Jo Foley is also hearing from sources within Microsoft that as early as June 2020 the two stores were scheduled to be deprecated but understandably roadmaps have adjusted according to the world during the pandemic.
While Microsoft was mum on the shuttering of its commercial app stores during its recent virtual Ignite 2021 conference, BUILD is just around the corner and hopefully, Microsoft will have a clearer picture for its new vision of app development and distribution.